An attempt to kidnap soldiers for the purpose of holding bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners was thwarted two and a half weeks ago, security officials said Sunday.
Two members of the Popular Resistance Committees were arrested trying to infiltrate Israel via Egypt in order to carry out the kidnapping. In their interrogation by the Shin Bet, the terrorists said they were sent by Jamal Abu Samhadana, head of the PRC in Gaza, who was killed in an Israel Defense Forces attack about a month ago.
The detainees were named as Ibrahim Jamal Mahmed Magdoub and Muhammad Ali Omar Atzar. They admitted in their interrogation that they intended to kidnap soldiers in exchange for prisoners, and to carry out a "sacrifice" shooting attack at Israelis.
Magdoub admitted that he tried to enter Israel in order to lead Atzar to an attack. At the same time, he planned to kidnap a soldier to trade for a Palestinian prisoner, a negotiations process to have been led by the head of the PRC Abu Samhadana, recently killed by the IDF.
Order: Bury soldiers in Rishon Lezion orchards
Magdoub said in his investigation that he met Samhadana three weeks before setting out for Egypt. Samhadana told him that he was being sent to kidnap and murder soldiers in the Tel Aviv area, where Magdoub worked in the past, with the assistance of other organization members from Gaza, who were supposed to link up with him in Israel.
During the meeting, Atzar was filmed reading his will and saying he was behind the incident, claiming the would-be attack for the PRC.
Samhadana ordered Atzar to bury the soldiers after the kidnapping in orchards in the Rishon Lezion area, and instructed him to transfer information about the soldiers via fax or a messenger in order to take responsibility and to carry out negotiations for trading prisoners.
Magdoub explained that Rishon Lezion was selected as the burial spot, as one of the organization's memberS who was selected to aid Magdoub in the kidnap and murder worked in the city as an illegal worker and therefore knew the area.
Samhadana also ordered Magdoub to lead a suicide bomber, Mahmed Atzar, into Israel.
Atzar confessed during his Shin Bet interrogation that he met Samhadana at the beginning of June and was asked to infiltrate Israel in order to carry out a terror shooting attack.
Before setting out for his mission Atzar underwent training in firearms and grenades (his trainer was later killed by an IDF strike on his training camp).
Security officials say the Resistance Committee has not ceased carrying out severe terror attacks against Israel, and has ignored the "calm" period.
The attacks include the sending of suicide bombers, rockets, and explosive device and shooting attacks.
Many of the attacks were carried out through the funding and direction of Hamas, with the PRC working as Hamas' front operational arm.
The PRC has said it was behind two kidnapping attacks – of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit
in Gaza, in cooperating with Hamas, and the kidnapping and murder of Eliyahu Asheri,
carried out by a Tanzim cell directed by the PRC in Gaza.